May 7, 2019

2019 Art and Art History MFA thesis exhibition

Columbia College Chicago

Mirjana Ursulesku, Echoes in the Dust, 2019. Photo solvent print on vinyl, 60 x 90 inches.

This exhibition features the thesis works of MFA candidates in Columbia College Chicago’s Art and Art History Department. The exhibition represents the culmination of three-plus years of development on a cohesive body of work for each artist.

Participating artists

Lynn Elam is a papermaker and sound artist. Inspired by open spaces, outdoor museums, and garden landscapes, she combines the handcraft of papermaking with digital technologies of sound making to investigate the connections between humanity and our environment and the uncertainties of today’s geopolitical world. Elam lives and works in northern Illinois.

Willa Goettling is a visual artist, writer, and educator based out of Chicago. Her work combines text and visuals manifesting as artists’ books, immersive installations, and experimental video. Through art, Goettling makes investigations into corporeality, ecology, and the biological and social impacts of capitalism.

Based in Chicago, Colleen McCulla’s recent work explores the boundaries between machine learning and human creativity. McCulla is a TEDx speaker who has been featured by MOO Inc. at SCOPE ART Miami Beach and nationwide on PBS television. McCulla created and hosts a video series, Paper Cuts, which explores the medium of collage on YouTube. McCulla has created one collage every day since 2012. They can be viewed on instagram.

Mirjana Ursulesku is an interdisciplinary artist whose works include printmaking, painting, drawing, photography, sound, psychogeography, cartography, mapping, the use of historical/archival documents, and installation. Ursulesku’s work examines the immigrant experience, revealing the neglected achievements and inequities of past immigrants while exploring her own struggles as an immigrant from Bosnia to find her place in the purported American Dream. Ursulesku is the recipient of the 2018 Caxton Club Award and 2018 Weisman Award.

Phil Worfel is an immersive video artist working with 360 degree video documentary and fulldome (planetarium) presentation. His background is in traditional fictional narrative, documentary, and commercial filmmaking, photography, and film production education. He explores the various relationships that audiences have with the media they watch and seeks to illuminate them in order to expose the ways that film, television, and virtual reality affect our understanding of ourselves and our interactions with others. Worfel has taught film and art classes in Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois and lives with his wife in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

MFA in Fine Arts
The Fine Arts MFA offers students mentorship from professional artists/educators, professional practice development, and opportunities to teach while engaging in national and international conversations on contemporary art. With world-renowned galleries and alternative spaces in the nation’s third-largest city, Chicago is an ideal and affordable location for artists to develop their studio practice while building industry connections. The program’s entrepreneurial focus will ready students to succeed at the intersection of creative and business practice while learning from studio artists immersed in their fields. Designed for students working in diverse materials, concepts, and techniques, the program offers an interdisciplinary experience and a collaborative space for critique and professional growth. The MFA program includes on-campus studio space, access to the college’s 15,000-square-foot fabrication facility, and mentorship from notable faculty artists, including: Adam Brooks, Paul Catanese, Joan Giroux, Duncan MackKenzie, Melissa Potter, and Folayemi Wilson.

About Columbia College Chicago
Columbia College Chicago is a private, nonprofit college offering a distinctive curriculum that blends creative and media arts, liberal arts, and business for nearly 7,500 students in more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Dedicated to academic excellence and long-term career success, Columbia creates a dynamic, challenging, and collaborative space for students who experience the world through a creative lens.

For more information, please visit or contact the MFA Program Director, Paul Catanese at pcatanese [​at​]

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